Just in case y'all were wondering- purple cows were enjoyed last night. For those of you who are not familiar with these unique-to-us treats, I sort of stole the idea of what is sometimes referred to as "Methodist Punch" and turned it into a spend-the-night delight for the grandkids. Methodist Punch is sherbet (any flavor), grape juice, and ginger ale. Actually, any sort of fruit juice can be used. I used to love that stuff when I was a kid. Boppy has improved the recipe by adding M&M's. He always makes the purple cows and always offers me one. Somehow, I never want one. Perhaps I need that whole punch bowl situation with a big ol' chunk of sherbet floating in it to really enjoy it.
But it is a real and true tradition here now.
Gibson is such a sweet guest. He never fusses and he is never loud or rowdy. We don't really do much. Play some cards, eat our meals, and he does love the Oculus. TV is involved. I think mostly the boy just likes being the only child for awhile, getting all the love and attention. He is in every way a middle child. He is not the first born or the baby and also, Maggie is SUCH a girl. Lily tries so hard not to let him get lost in the shuffle and she does very well but let's face it- we all need a break from our families of birth at some time or another. This morning we had our pancakes and then he and I played some Go Fish.
He beat the hell out of me at that too.
But he's a gracious winner.
When Jason came to get him, Owen and Maggie were with him and I almost wept when Owen got out of the truck. That kid is growing way too fast. He's passed me in height, of course, and is closing in on his dad. Gibson will be taller than me too, soon. And he's only in the fifth grade. Maggie's got some height on her too. When she came in the house today I showed her my new dolls. Betty May Tiger Jumper and her baby, Scarlet, and Rosa Violet.
She especially liked Rosa Violet.
"She looks like a baby!" she said. And then she said, "She is a baby."
After they all left I made a pineapple upside down cake and a smaller blackberry/pineapple upside down cake.
I made the big one for a friend of Mr. Moon's who is getting pretty old and does not have many pleasures in life but he can still eat, a little bit at a time. Mr. Moon recently got in touch with him and they made a plan to get together and Glen kindly asked me if I would make Randy a pineapple upside down cake because he has always liked the ones I make. Of course I said yes! I like Randy. He used to call me "Hippie Girl" which pleased me greatly. And I had some fresh blackberries and it had occurred to me that they might make a fine upside down cake with some pineapple and we shall see if that is true tonight.
I am listening to a memoir right now of Billy Porter's.
He narrates it and I am barely able to take my earbuds out. The first time I ever took note of Mr. Porter was when he wore a black velvet tuxedo gown designed by Christian Siriano at the 2019 Oscar Awards Ceremony.
I am not sure why but his appearance in this gown absolutely blew my mind, stole my heart, and made me a little prouder to be a human being. I am ashamed that I had no idea who he was but I am not a follower of Broadway musicals and somehow, his huge and amazing talent and presence had just slipped under my very limited radar.
I am so glad to be listening to his book and of course he narrates it. What a life! And the obstacles he has faced are innumerable. The son of a mother who was born with neurological damage from a botched delivery, he was as gay as a picnic from the moment he was born which is not a safe thing to be for a Black child in Pittsburg in the sixties and seventies. His mother's church gave him a place to realize he could sing but it was also the place that told him that being a homosexual was the fastest ticket to hell. From his first day in first grade, he was bullied and beaten for being a sissy. His mother adored him but she had no real tools to help him deal with the life she had born him into.
She remarried when Billy was about six or seven and at first Billy was thrilled- a man in the house to teach him how to be a man!
And then his stepfather began to visit Billy in his childhood bed in the basement bedroom that he'd built for Billy, and thus began five years of regular and relentless molestation.
This story is way too familiar for many of us but Billy had a gift. He could sing. He could truly, really sing. And after being taken to see a performance "The Wiz" by his aunt, he knew what he was supposed to be doing and he spent the next years of his life going way above and beyond what I can begin to imagine to cut his path through the bigotry, poverty, abuse, religious shaming, public school system, and so many other obstacles to achieve what he somehow believed was a dream he deserved to have come true.
I'm not even halfway through it but I am in awe.
So that's a lot of what I'm thinking about today.
It's funny- the Mormon Stories podcast that I love often talks about how people can thrive after leaving a "high demand religion" and Billy talks a lot about not only surviving but thriving, even as he is truthful and honest about the way the abuse he suffered as a child affects him so deeply to this day, no matter how much success he has or how many accolades he receives.
There is a whole lot of shit that can happen when we are children that can fuck us up. Those who survive are a sort of miracle and those who thrive are- well way beyond miracles. They are the strongest people on this earth.
I do believe that.
Japanese Magnolias blooming in my back yard. Once again- I do not really get enough sun for them to flourish but they persevere, they grow, they are beautiful.
Not only does Billy Porter sing, he also dances and acts. He played a character on the FX series POSE called "Pray Tell" which may be my favorite character name in all of history.
I have watched some of it. I am going to go back and finish watching it.
He is a thing of beauty, planted in the wrong place and yet determined to bloom.
And he has. He does. He will.
always learn something new from you...I had no idea who Billy Porter was, nor know of his life (until now) but I DO recall seeing him in Christian's gorgeous creation and thinking wow, that takes self assurance to pull off- and he did! I'll take that blackberry upside down cake, thank you very much! Pineapple UD is a fave of mine but since hubby doesn't eat sugar anymore, I rarely bake sweets as I surely do not need them (tho I love sweets and could live off them). Glad Gibson had fun...and you too! And the magnolia......we don't have them here, but my friend in Sacramento has them in her front yard- stunning.ReplyDelete
The blackberries worked so well with the pineapple. A marriage made in heaven!Delete
Billy Porter is definitely a man with self-assurance. And also a man who doubts his place in the world. One of those strange and unhappy dichotomies. I admire him a great deal.
We call those port wine magnolias. I love the way the flowers show before the leaves.ReplyDelete
The cakes look delicious. I think I'd have a slice of one of those over a purple cow!
Thank you for the information on Billy Porter. His name is somewhere in my subconscious. I shall see if I can find his book.
Port Wine is a good name for this magnolia variety.Delete
Yes. Cake over punch any day. Of course, at weddings you can have both!
If there's any way to get the audio version of the book- do.
You are a woman of many facets.ReplyDelete
I hope I am!Delete
Your magnolias made me fall over! And Billy's dress stunned me- deliciously. Curious how little children make it through and live to tell the tale. And, of course, makes me loathe the toxicity of the male gender. GENERALLY, mind you. There are exceptions. You made some fine looking cakes there, Hippie Girl!ReplyDelete
As much as I love the Japanese Magnolias, it is the Grandiflora blossom that makes me fall to my knees in worship.Delete
Isn't that the most beautiful gown? It is a MAN's gown!
I have to agree with you about the toxicity of men. But of course, not all men. Still- I doubt there would be wars or nearly as much abuse in this world without them. But they do come in handy in a lot of ways.
The cake was Hippie Good.
I remember that outfit and the total style he rocked. I thought he was a model, and now realize so much more! Thank you for the education. He's a lot of achievements all at once.ReplyDelete
I like your baked goods. Again!
As the grandchildren are getting taller, do you feel like The Incredible Shrinking Woman??
He sure could be a model. He doesn't talk much about his looks in his book. If I were him, I surely would.Delete
I do feel like the Incredible Shrinking Woman! I did pick up Levon the other day and I knew it would be one of the last times. It sort of broke my heart.
It's too soon for magnolias to bloom here. I can recall seeing that color up nort, here.ReplyDelete
I can only imagine it IS too early!Delete
Billy Porter is a strong and courageous man....and takes no prisoners. Bullshit is not in his repertoire. I also enjoyed him in American Horror Story. I need to read the book. Oh Lord! Those upside-down cakes are beyond my wildest dreams! Thank you for the info. on the Gypsy Soul Store. By the way, I just found a 1st edition (1942) of "Cross Creek". I loved that book I read so many years ago. I think I told you that I was fortunate enough to visit her home. Look forward to rereading this book and traveling back in time to a different era in Florida.ReplyDelete
You are exactly correct about Billy Porter! I am loving listening to the audio version. His voice is so rich.Delete
I have read Cross Creek many times. There are parts of it that are shockingly racist. And yes- that was the times she lived in. I can only hope that if Rawlings had known better, she would have done better. I love her house! It's so cool that you got to visit there. It is a real Florida grove house.
I have never heard of Billy Porter, but I love stories of people who take up the pieces of their broken life and make something amazing from them. He's done that in spades, hasn't he? I love the posts of you and your grands. All that love splashes right out of the computer and makes me smile. THanks!ReplyDelete
Billy Porter's book is hugely inspiring. Especially for someone who was sexually abused by a member of the family, I think. It's not that he's "healed" from it, but just to know that the feelings I have so very often are like the ones he has and that he has managed to do great things.Delete
I do love my grands so much.
I've never heard of Billy Porter but he sure is a beautiful man.ReplyDelete
Glad you all had a good visit with Gibson. I imagine it's lovely to go to grandma and grandpa's and be an only, even for awhile.
Your flowers are shockingly gorgeous. I went to the greenhouse today because I needed to see something green. I bought some seeds, even though I can't plant them for months, I have them.
I am going to go buy peas and potatoes and onion sets in the next week, I hope, to plant. I am thinking about starting some tomatoes from seeds. We shall see.Delete
I had no idea who Billy Porter was until I saw him in that outfit - and then I admit I never gave him a second thought (I don't follow "celebrity" much), but now I'm going to download that book for sure. I just wish I could get on with audible but so far no luck!ReplyDelete
Oh honey! I tell you- if there's any way you can get it on audible, do!Delete
I love the expression "gay as a picnic." I also had no idea who Billy Porter was until I saw him in that outfit (and some equally fabulous subsequent outfits). Thank goodness people like him exist!ReplyDelete
I can't believe Gibson is almost as tall as you!
Hank gave me that expression. It's a good one, isn't it? It charms me.Delete
Billy Porter can wear a formal gown. DAMN! He's pretty.
You would not BELIEVE what Owen looks like these days. Oh Lord. They are growing up too fast.
POSE is great! It is the first time I knew of Billy Porter and I was blown away. I will have to get his book. Thanks PeterReplyDelete
Yes. As I've said in these comments about ten times already- if you can get the audio version of the book, please do. His narration is, of course, perfect. Our libraries here offer audio books to check out. I bet yours do too! And maybe you already do that.
I am impressed with Billy Porter.ReplyDelete
I am too!Delete
There is something so unique about those of us who manage to survive all sorts of childhood and young personhood trauma and/or abuse. So many don't survive with their minds intact. Those that do seem to have a laser focus on something that allows that trauma to be put in one of those boxes in your mind that you only open once in a great while and never when it might deter you from your chosen path. At least, that's what I think.ReplyDelete
I think that you are right in that a lot of people who were abused do indeed find something big to focus on which may help, for a time at least, to keep the abuse memories at bay. However, that never works in the long run. And as Porter says in his book, becoming famous and well-known has not helped him at all with the difficulties he has to this day because of the abuse. He thought it would. But it did not.Delete
Thank you for appreciating Billy Porter. I adore him. He has wisdom and courage to burn. And dear Gibson, he seems so able to just be, and that is a gift. Those purple cows are a force. I had no idea M&MS were involved.ReplyDelete
Oh my GOD! How could I not appreciate Mr. Porter? He is indeed a bright flame on this earth. I admire him so and now that I'm reading his book, I know where his fire comes from.Delete
M&M's make everything better, right?
I had to give up making pineapple upside down cake because no one liked them but me. I used to put whole rings of pineapple with a full glace cherry in the centre and half cherries around the edge.ReplyDelete
I have never heard of Billy Porter until now.